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SOLITUDE AND SOCIETY.
Oh, this life Is nobler, than attending for a check ;t Richer, than doing nothing for a babe; Prouder, than rustling in unpaid-for silk : Such gain the cap of him that makes them fine, Yet keeps his book uncrossed. No life to ours ! Guiderius. Out of your proof you speak; we, poor un
fledg'd, Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor know not What air's from home. Haply, this life is best, If quiet life be best: sweeter to you, That have a sharper known; well corresponding With your stiff age ; but, unto us, it is A cell of ignorance; travelling abed; A prison for a debtor, that not dares To stride a limit.
Cymbeline. Act iï. Scene 3.
The subject of monachism is one of no small interest, but one that cannot very well be enlarged upon in these pages. I believe, however, the world is pretty well agreed, that man is a social animal, and not intended by Providence to live alone; and that a solitary life is neither favourable to his attainment of the highest knowledge, or the highest virtue, or the highest happiness.
* Meaning retired and solitary life. + Commentators have not settled the precise meaning of these two lines, but it is plain that the first alludes to the restraint of attending and guarding the great, and the second to the empty honours of court life.
S T U D I E S.
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY, ETC., ETC.
Biron. Why, universal plodding prisons up
Love's Labour's lost. Act iv, Scene 3.
While we do admire
Taming of the Shrew. Act i. Scene 1.
Man has not yet learnt wisdom on this subject, either from proverbs or experience. He still sees the necessity of giving his body food and repose, but still continues to tax the powers of the mind as if they needed no relaxation or nourishment. How many a noble intellect do we see in miserable ruins for want of such precaution !
"Affect" here means," have a liking or disposition for."
SU P E R S T I TION.
Antigonus. I have heard (but not believ'd) the spirits of
the dead May walk again.
Winter's Tale. Act iii. Scene 3.
At my nativity,
Hotspur. Why, so it would have done
I Hotspur, And I the earth was not of my mind, If you suppose, as fearing you it shook. Glendower. The heavens were all on fire, the earth did
tremble. Hotspur. Oh, then the earth shook to see the heavens on
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
1st part King Henry IV. Act iii. Scene 1.
Lafeu. They say miracles are past; yet* we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless. Ilence is it, that we make trifles of terrors ; ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
All's well that ends well. Act ii. Scene 3.
Archbishop of Canterbury. Miracles are ceas'd; And therefore we must needs admit the means, How things are perfected.
King Henry V. Act i. Scene 1.
SAAKSPERE’s superiority to the superstitious times in which he lived is absolutely amazing, especially when we consider that such a mind as Sir Matthew Hale's succumbed to them. Read the speech of Antigonus on ghosts, the reasoning of Hotspur on omens, the reflexion of Canterbury's archbishop on miracles, and then admire a genius that was centuries in advance of its own age.
* “And " in the text.
S U S PICIO N.
ITS READINESS OF DI VINATION.
Northumberland. See what a ready tongue suspicion hath! He that but fears the thing he would not know, Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes That what he fear'd is chanced.
2nd part King Henry IV. Act i. Scene 1.
K. Henry VI. The bird that hath been limed in a bush, With trembling wings, misdoubteth every bush.
3rd part King Henry VI. Act v. Scene 6.
SUSPICION A VICE OF OLD AGE.
Polonius. It seems it is as proper to our age
Hamlet. Act ii. Scene 1.
SUSPICION EASILY EXCITED IN THE JEALOUS.
Trifles light as air,
Othello. Act ii. Scene 3.
* Dr. Johnson observes, that men long accustomed to the wiles of life commouly “cast beyond themselves," that is to say, “let their cunning go farther than reason can attend it."